I headed left down the hill from Sacre-Coeur into the fabric district. Metro Anvers is the closest, but I got off at Abbesses and strolled through Montmartre. But where to start?? I headed for Marché St Pierre first of all – five floors of fabric!!!
Marché St Pierre, 2 rue Charles Nodier
Open 10am – 6.30pm Monday to Saturday. Closed every Monday in August
Check out interior photos on their website.The fabrics are laid out in rolls on large tables, while shop assistants circulate with wooden metre sticks at the ready to measure and cut at your request. Signs on the wall state that the minimum length you can ask for is 0.5m and they may refuse to cut your requested length if there is less than 3m left on the roll. Once your fabric has been cut, they will write you a ticket detailing the price. You have to pay on each floor before moving to the next, just present your tickets at the till (“la caisse”) and hand over your cash.
The ground and first floors were most suited to those who like garment sewing, with a variety of silks, wools, linen, cotton and jersey. Fabrics ranged in price from the bargainous 2 euros/m to an eye-watering 80 euros/m. There was a good selection of quilting cottons – but at 7 euros/m they were probably a similar price to the UK and expensive for US shoppers. The clientele seemed a real mix – from fashion students hunting out the perfect fabric for their design to Parisian women shopping for home décor fabrics.
And so across the street to Tissus Reine………………
Open Monday 2pm – 6.30pm; Tuesday to Friday 9.30am-6.30pm, Saturdays 9.30 – 6.45pm.
Again this is a large store spread out over a number of floors - the ground and first floors are most suited to garment sewers, with furnishing fabric on the second and curtains on the third floors. The first floor also has a large section for notions and patterns – there’s a huge variety of buttons and trimmings. Lots of pattern books laid out for you to browse; New Look, Simplicity, Neue Mode, Burda to name but a few.
Slightly creepy doll-sized mannequins, dressed in outfits made from the fabrics on display, overlook each of the fabric tables (think Chucky in couture!). Again, you just have a grab an assistant with a metre stick to cut your desired length of the roll. The table of Liberty fabrics was getting a lot of attention – I’ve heard this is the cheapest place in Paris to buy Liberty but don’t know how the prices compare with UK/US prices. There were also some beautiful wools and silks, with prices very similar to Marché St Pierre.
I also wandered down Rue d’Orsel to Moline.
Open Monday 1.30pm – 6.30pm Tuesday to Saturday 9.45am – 7pm
Go to their site and click on “Visite Virtuelle du Magasin” for pics of the interior
Moline has a number of shops along the one street – many of them seemed to have furnishing fabric but there was also one branch selling yarn, quilting fabrics and notions.
There are some smaller/cheaper fabric stores dotted around which you just may stumble on if you have the time to wander the streets. And don’t ignore the remnants stores – look for the word “coupons” in the window. I spent ages browsing in “Sacrés Coupons” (4 Rue d’Orsel). Individual roll-ends are displayed folded on tables (varying from “orderly” to “rummage sale” depending on the time of day!) Each individual piece has a label in the corner listing the length and the total price. Pieces ranged from 1.5m – 4m in size and they had a good selection of wools, silks, cord and cotton. Many of the fabrics were those sold on the roll in Marche St Pierre and Tissus Reine so if you are after a small-ish piece and willing to rummage, this might be a cheaper option.
Given the huge amount of choice, I didn’t buy a lot! I bought some brown lace-edged dotty fabric for 11 euros from Sacrés Coupons – it feels very good quality and there's enough for a blouse! I also bought several metres of batik in two different designs for summer dresses at 2 euros 30/m from Marché St Pierre– super bargain! However I do plan to go back in a few months……………..